How much does a person know about personal finances by the time they become an adult? The answer to that can vary quite a bit based on a number of factors. Some states have prioritized teaching it in the classroom, which tends to lead to things like better budgeting skills. Whether or not your child’s school focuses on financial literacy, there are a number of ways for you to help them learn it at home.
Understand They Will Copy You
Your own financial habits are likely to be copied in your kids. We’re not here to judge you for missing bills or having to live with less. Just try to keep in mind that the way you talk about your financial situation will have an impact on their decisions in the future, for better or worse. It may not feel easy, but you can still work to model individual positive financial habits where you can.
Financial Literacy Board Game Night
There’s no reason you can’t make this fun! Pull out Monopoly (ha) and Life or some of the more recent games that have come out that are a bit more educational. And don’t be afraid to be the one to win, either.
Teach the Value of a Safety Net
Your children may be covered under your insurance for the health, but there are other ways to teach them about the benefits of insurance and safety nets early on.
Take cell phones and gadgets, for example. Did you just buy your kid their first phone, but you’re afraid they’re going to leave it somewhere, drop it in water or forget to take it out of their pocket before laundry day? Introduce them to cell phone protection.
Avibra’s family cell phone protection plan is only $1/week, and it covers your household. Have your child contribute $.25/week to that plan with their allowance to help teach them it’s important to cover expensive things. If they drop it in the toilet – now they’ll understand the important of insurance, and you won’t have to fork over hundreds for a new phone.
Get Them Involved in Household Finances
This one can be a little controversial, especially if you grew up with parents who stressed about money constantly. Young adults can especially fail to understand the major expenses to budget for if they haven’t been exposed to them. The costs of items like a car’s registration can really seem to come out of nowhere.
Give the Gift of Financial Literacy Books
Okay, maybe not as a birthday gift. This probably rates lower than socks for most kids as far as gifts go. There are tons of books out there aimed at different age groups. As a bonus, they can learn that it’s not just you who thinks this is important.
Define Financial Literacy Goals
You’re not going to turn your kid into the next Sara Blakely in a day. You can, however, set some realistic goals around what you want them to know by the time they’ve entered adulthood. Set some age-appropriate ones and try to build upon them as they grow up.
Help Them Save & Spend
It can be tough to manage a child’s expectations around saving and then spending money. Do they want to save up for something big? Are they interested in several smaller purchases? Help them navigate the emotions that come not just with squirreling money away, but also when they choose to spend it.
Balance a Budget with Them
This one might not be interesting to all kids, but it can be a cool way to introduce them to the facts about investing. Have them pick a few stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments and then track how they perform. Maybe start it at the beginning of high school and see where they end up after four years.
Teach About Debt
Debt is a tricky thing. If you go too hard in either direction, you can end up in a bit of trouble. Too much debt is obviously not great, but being afraid of getting something like a mortgage may close them off from important life steps. Arm them with financial literacy so that they can make the decisions that are right for them later on.